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UPD Ministry issues Health Warning over high ozone levels in Athens

High temperatures push higher the levels of atmospheric pollution. Heat and ozone create an “explosive” cocktail and an atmosphere of “asphyxiation” especially at noon time in the Greek capital Athens.

The Greek Health Ministry issued a warning on Monday urging people with respiratory problems or heart conditions to stay indoors. Residents of Athens with respiratory ailments, heart conditions as well as those who are sensitive to atmospheric pollution should avoid being outdoors due to high levels of ozone,” the warning said. The ministry also recommends that “the above mentioned people as well as children avoid intense physical exercise which can cause respiratory irritation and lead to respiratory problems.”

Air quality measurements in Athens basin on early afternoon Monday showed that ozone levels in three areas reached 205 mg/m3. Although the measurements felt short of the 240 mg/m3 level which is considered hazardous for everyone, any measurement above 180 mg/m3 is considered as harming to those society groups with health problems.

Ozone Levels 26 June 2017

  • Nea Smyrni time 2pm-5pm: 182-205 mg/m3
  • Liosia 2pm-4pm 154-188 mg/m3
  • Peristeri 2pm-4pm 162-192 mg/m3

These three suburbs in south and west Athens are part of the pollution monitoring network of the Environment Ministry.

Based on the press releases (23-26 June 2017) of the Environment Ministry high ozone levels set in as of  2 o’ clock local time and last from 1 up to 4 hours.

The levels normally fall as of later afternoon.

In the Earth’s lower atmosphere, near ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight. Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant.

Concerns about the air pollution are expected to remain as the National Meteorology Service of the country has issued a warning about an extreme heat wave with temperatures up to 43 degrees Celsius.

Ozone Levels 27 June 2017

Lykovrysi: time 1pm-3 pm  225-228 mg/m3

Thrakomadekones: time 2pm – 4pm 216 – 234 mg/m3

While temperatures remain above 36°-37°C on Tuesday and Wednesday, the heat wave is expected to set in on Thursday and last for four days.

Air temperature forecast for Athens is 42°C for Friday and Saturday, June 30 and July 1.

If the North-East wind indeed sets in with 4 Beaufort chances are good that the smog over the city is blown away.

PS Late Saturday afternoon and while at the beach, we saw a nice yellow belt in the south horizon. My friend, a visitor from a city in the North, asked “What is this?” I replied “Normally this is a sign smog and high ozone levels.” I was in doubt as I saw it in the sea horizon for the first time. Normally, I see the grey-yellow smog laying over the west part of Athens and thus in the morning, that is before 11 a.m.

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One comment

  1. At my age – but this also applies to everyone 7 especially little children.
    On hot days in summer I have to sat indoors – only mad people go out on days of extreme heat & it has nothing to do with OOOZZZOOONNNEE